A happy wife, mother of a 21-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old sweet girl, founder of the international health project BE.HEALTHY, Sabrina Leroy is today one of the most demanded yoga teachers in the South-West of France and the island of Mauritius.
Other than her spacious yoga studio with breathtaking ocean views in Mauritius’s most prestigious part, Sabrina also runs one-to-one classes throughout the island. You can find Sabrina on Mauritius’s east coast during her sunrise yoga or in the southwest at sunset yoga. Her days are fully scheduled, with classes for several weeks ahead.
KASAA LIFE was fortunate enough to meet Sabrina during her class break at Mauritius's luxury Paradise Cove hotel to get a few of her thoughts and talk about her journey.
KASAA LIFE: When did you realize you wanted to become a yoga teacher? And why yoga?
SABRINA LEROY: I have been practicing yoga for about 20 years now. Yoga was initially more of a necessity as I had been diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). After a major back surgery six years ago, the doctors forbade me to twist, lower my back or perform any other exercises.
I am such a person who cannot live without constant movement and activity, so those restrictions brought me in addition to physical pain, moral anguish resulting in several severe depression episodes.
After a life of suffering and surgery, I was looking for different solutions or way out and decided to take care of myself differently: I started off by immersed myself in healthy eating literature, then to prove to myself that I can move again, I took my first teacher training certification in yoga which changed my life for the better. That is how yoga first grew into a hobby, and only after that into work.
Today I live, I am full of strength, I fight my illness daily basis. Yoga helps to strengthen my body, maintains hypermobility of my joints, teaches me to breathe better, calms me down and most of all instills confidence every day. Now I practice bending and twisting despite the operation and the doctor’s initial recommendations! I'm moving freely again, I'm happy!
Yoga is much more than a sport; it is a philosophy of life! It saves mine every day!
More and more clients of my health center at that time turned to me for advice on yoga classes.
It was then that I decided to teach in addition to my health-coach job.
KL: What is the difference between yoga in Biarritz and yoga in Mauritius?
SL: Climate! All of my classes, including those in a studio in Mauritius are held outdoors; while in France, most of the time yoga was held indoors. On the island, the air that we breath on the street is more charged with vital energy. Thanks to outdoor activities, endurance is significantly increased due to the abundance of oxygen, which regenerates the body faster. Yoga in fresh air substantially improves the mental state of a person and induces calm, optimism, and balance.
Many of my clients from Biarritz travel to the studio in Mauritius specifically seeking the daily outdoor practice.
KL: Is there something that you would like to change, implement in Biarritz and Mauritius?
SL: I live in Mauritius now and therefore dream of creating a free yoga course for Mauritians who cannot afford classes. I dream of a space where they could also receive advice and support to eat better and eat healthily. Mauritians have an utterly unbalanced diet with high levels of diabetes and advising them in such matters would be a great accomplishment.
KL: Are there any obligatory rituals you perform before each yoga class?
SL: Before every morning breathing practice, I always use a tongue scraper, rinse my mouth and drink a large glass of warm water. My daily training program includes Pranayama, breathing exercises, a few minutes of meditation, and Asanas (postures) that makes me feel good.
I practice yoga every morning because I find morning yoga most beneficial. It can be a gentle workout when my back hurts, an intense workout when I'm in good shape, or even inverted workouts when I feel like challenging myself.
KL: What makes you smile when you get up in the morning?
SL: I am enjoying the sunrise every day in the stunning azure-colored lagoon where I live.
KL: What book has influenced you the most?
SL: A book that has nothing to do with yoga, “The Day I Learned to Live” by Laurent Gounelle; helped me understand that I need to live and take care of myself.
KL: What excites you right now?
SL: I am delighted with my new project! The conceptual group coaching program within BE.HEALTHY aims to help women over 40 feel beautiful, charming, and gain self-confidence. Through diet, yoga, facial yoga, self-massage, and personal development, the goal is achieved.
I am using everything I have learned over the past 20 years to create a unique fitness experience! And it works!
KL: What advice would you give to those who want to do yoga?
SL: It is essential to listen to your body! When choosing a workout time, be sure to take into account the physiological characteristics of your body. The ideal time for yoga is when you can only think about what you are doing at the moment, you can be "here and now."
Yoga has nothing to do with regular fitness. Here, you don't have to compete with other practitioners and push your limits. Yoga implies that classes should be purely enjoyable, and in no case, should it be tiring.
During the pandemic, many began to practice yoga through videos and do not always know how to perform the pose without harming themselves correctly. I continue my classes for my clients in Biarritz online since it’s essential to correct the position of the body and check the techniques to avoid injury.
I recommend taking one or two private lessons, even online, to learn the basics and classic poses. Only a practicing trainer can deliver the correct technique of Asanas and breathing. Make dietary changes, be attentive to yourself, take care of the important little things, and yoga classes will become a real outlet for you in the cycle of life. Exercise regularly!
KL: What are your plans for the future?
SL: I have plans to develop online activities and organize BE.HEALTHY yoga retreats in Mauritius and worldwide.
Thanks to Sabrina for catching up with us, and for telling us about her approach to all things yoga, wellbeing, and business.